Women’s Basketball Program Ready To Continue Their Winning Culture This Season

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Senior guard Makinna Serrata tries to score while forward graduate student Kristen Daniels attempts to block her. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

Gabriella Ruiz, Reporter/Sports Editor

With an overall record of 19-10 and finishing 11-3 in conference play for the 2021-2022 season, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi women’s basketball program is ready to come back with a new group of players and returners to go further for the 2022-2023 season. 

Group of basketball players guarding on court
Assistant coach Roxanne White works with the guards, senior Makinna Serrata, junior Violetta Verano, and junior Paige Allen. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

This summer, head coach Royce Chadwick announced that he signed an extended contract for the 2024-2025 season to continue leading the Islanders to create a winning culture in the program. 

Last season, the Islanders traveled to Katy for the Southland Conference Championship to face No. 3 Southeastern in the semifinals at the Merrell Center. The Lady Lions managed to keep up with the Islanders to tie in the fourth quarter and forced overtime. Eventually, Southeastern responds by leading 59-54 at the end. 

“We definitely didn’t get to where we want to be,” said senior forward/center Alecia Westbrook. “It was a lot of our first time going to the [Southland Conference Championship]. I feel like this year we have way more veterans on the team. I think we will be ready because of these tough games in the beginning.” 

The women’s basketball program roster has 15 women playing for the Islanders by having experienced players, transfers, and underclassmen joining this season. Coach Chadwick said this season he’ll have to mesh his new players with their returners to accentuate the positives of the individuals to continue to have a great nucleus within the team. 

Coach holding ball in front of basketball players
Head coach Royce Chadwick runs his drills with his team during practice. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

“We have open competition right now, so we don’t necessarily have the five that we know are going to start,” Chadwick said. “We have people that started a lot of basketball games in their past that are bringing that experience to us and we’re trying to situate those positives.” 

Deja Williams, junior guard transfer from Eastern Oklahoma, was exposed to a lot of new things here at TAMU-CC with the Islanders. She spoke on how the workout program, the preseason, the strength conditioning, and a nutrition person was an eye opener that she enjoys. 

“I’m enjoying the team, the environment, and the atmosphere,” Williams said. “When I first got here, I definitely struggled with trying to find my confidence and trying to figure out am I needed, like where do I belong? So being here, I think since the start of October, I really got the hang of it.” 

Williams continues by saying with her first time being in the program with the Islanders, she wants to take it day by day with one game at a time. By being in that moment and living it, Williams is focussed on being locked in and trying to figure out how she can benefit the team offensively and defensively. 

Defense basketball player and offense basketball player
Junior guard Violetta Verano plays defense while her teammate forward graduate student Kristen Daniels tries to get past her. Photo by Gabriella Ruiz

“That’s why I’m here, I’m here trying to figure out what went wrong last year that we won’t do this year in order to get to March Madness,” Williams said. 

The Islanders schedule this season will be facing teams such as Stony Brook, Nebraska, Texas State, Texas A&M, St. Thomas and more. 

Violetta Verano, junior guard returner, spoke on how she thinks their schedule is pretty good by starting with two big teams and feels like the teams will prepare them for what’s coming after that. When reflecting on how last season ended, Verano said they know what they have to improve to knock down their shots, limit their turnovers and play good defense. 

“If we want to win this conference, we need to lock in from the first minute of the game,” Verano said. “We need to be a locking team by winning the conference and the tournament. I think we all know that we need to achieve that.” 

The women’s basketball program will be playing their first exhibition game here at home against Huston-Tillotson on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. Their regular season will begin in Lubbock to face Texas Tech on Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. 

 

Sources:

  1. https://goislanders.com/sports/womens-basketball/schedule?path=wbball
  2. https://goislanders.com/sports/womens-basketball/roster?path=wbball